In the latest installment of the Pinstriped Bible, Steven Goldman compares Yankee DH Nick Johnson, to former Bronx Bomber Ron Blomberg, who was the first designated hitter to appear in the big leagues. Hopefully for Yankee fans, Johnson will have a more successful career than Blomberg. Still, it's an interesting comparison:
Johnson's body is what it is; if his wrists betray him it's no fault of his. Still, it takes a ballplayer an instant to be labeled as fragile, a lifetime to live it down. This spring is a crucible moment for his career -- he's either going to establish himself now or face an uphill climb. This is only partially because he's in an organization that can't afford to wait, and mainly because when a youngster goes from "first base prospect" to "first base option," he is thrown into a large pool of players from which it is very difficult to distinguish oneself. Call it "The Ivan Cruz Zone." It's easy to get in, nigh impossible to get out.
I love the idea of the Expos as the "Slap Shot" team of the Major Leagues. Owned by Major League Baseball, run by Omar Minaya, managed by Frank Robinson, and led by the inimitable Vlad Guerreo, the Expos are interesting if nothing else.
Phil Rogers has a long article on Montreal today, over at ESPN, which also reprints its hot stove report on Frank Robinson's bunch too. And just for the hell of it, here are twomore articles on from North of the Border.